At the bottom on the left is an alphabetical list of the pages in this web site, to help you navigate if you feel so inclined.
A guide to our family photo album covering 1994-2010, showing the principal themes, is here.
A year by year guide to our family time-line from 1994 through 2007 is here.
A photo journal beginning in 2008 is here.
The most recent pages of the album, copies of posts from my WordPress family blog, http://ianstock.wordpress.com/, are linked here:
Our 1999 Annual Update:
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!!!!
Here in Santa Cruz, 1999 has been a very good year.
Here’s hoping that your year has gone half as well!
First things first: as the photograph shows you, on April 15, 1999 the Versailles Court of Appeals, demonstrating that its heart is big enough to admit having made a mistake, transferred Nicholas and Thomas to us in Santa Cruz. We had lived apart for two years, which I had found simply intolerable, and they had found a little annoying because it meant that they had fallen behind the other kids in learning to skateboard and surf. So on Labor Day weekend, when O’Neill’s Surf Shop had its best annual sale, in we all went to buy five (count ‘em) wetsuits! The photo was taken after an afternoon’s boogie-boarding on Capitola Beach.
A word about O’Neill’s, which says something about Silicon Valley. If you recognize one trademark from Santa Cruz, “O’Neill” is likely to be it. Jack O’Neill started out catering to local surfers (of which he was one) in a rickety little shed-like store at one of the local beaches. Not long after, he tried to register the mark “Surf Shop”. He couldn’t get it, but he was on his way to creating one of the most recognizable marks of surf and ski clothing and equipment in the world. There are a lot of answers to the question of what is the magic formula for Silicon Valley: no answer is complete without including that indefatigable American sense of commerce.
So we’re all together again. Life as a family of eight is amazing, at least so Marie-Hélène tells me! I’m only home with the family on weekends (demanding job and a long commute), and based on that limited experience don’t know how she handles it. Alex (2 this coming January) follows her around constantly, emptying whatever drawers she is near. Charlie (4 already) spends most of his time (when he’s allowed to) with his sister’s Gameboy or in front of his brothers’ Nintendo or PlayStation. He is our youngest skateboarder and surfer, and you have not lived until you have watched him whizzing down our steep driveway sitting on his skateboard.
Tom and Alban (each turned 10 a couple of months ago: they are together in the middle of the photo, with Alban holding the board) have slotted back into their old relationship, each adopting the bad side of the other! Tom got a basketball hoop for his birthday and is building a treehouse on the property with cast-off wood. Alban still revels in his soccer, and perhaps because of Tom’s arrival has for the first time applied himself at school. Daphné and Nick (12 and 13) are each to our surprise beginning to be interested in relationships outside of the home. Nick received his first computer for his birthday, so that he can now download video games as well as waste all his pocket money on them. Daphné has her own telephone now, and we are pathetically grateful that she has her own line and that local calls in the US remain free (for those of you who wonder how the Internet got off to such a flying start here, there’s the best reason)!
We all went to France this summer, everyone but me for at least five weeks. A visit to England, and in particular to Erdington Abbey to pay our respects to mum and thank her for our home in Santa Cruz, and to say “Hello” to Aunty Vi, Ronnie and Louise and Aunty Alice. [The photos are of Alex and Charlie in Higginson Park, Marlow.] Then almost a week in Saint Malo on the north Brittany coast. Marie-Hélène and the little ones spent most of their vacation in her father’s cottage on the edge of the Forest of Broceliande, and Alex developed a weak spot for “les vaches” (Daniel, grandpa’s next-door neighbor, makes his living out of about a dozen cows). It was a lovely visit, if a little hectic when I was there, because I had to get back to work.
I say “had to get back”, but must admit that this may be the best job I ever had. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is the most important law firm in Silicon Valley, and the wheeling and dealing is non-stop and out of control. Start-up “.com” companies walk in the door daily, make deals with each other with lightning speed, and before you know it are unleashed upon the world in an IPO. I never know what will happen next, but do know that this firm does more IPOs than any other law firm in the US. Plus, with visits from the like of Peter Mandelson (the British Minister of Trade, whom the firm took out to lunch), WSGR and everyone in it begins to experience delusions of grandeur. Maybe, just maybe, that wild idea that just walked in the door could be the next Yahoo . . ..
Yes, I resisted material ambition for longer than many of my generation (that’s the generation that sang “hope I die before I get old” and meant it, almost, in a way), but that’s one of the unanticipated consequences of six kids. Maybe they’ll want to go to College. And even if they don’t, they all want wetsuits and surfboards, not to speak of their own room. And each Sunday night, we watch a video together, and tonight it’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Our life is like a Spielberg film: boom boom boom, and go go go.
So all the best from all of us to you and all of yours, and please keep in touch.
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban